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July 07, Cross country:

Schurter defends Swiss cross country national title

By:
Cycling News
Published:
July 08, 2013, 14:29 BST,
Updated:
July 09, 2013, 15:55 BST

Leumann takes convincing win in women's race

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) wins the 2013 Swiss cross country championship

Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) wins the 2013 Swiss cross country championship

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In sunny Lenzerheide, Switzerland's best moutain bikers contended for the national titles on a dry, 4.3-kilometre course, which offered an elevation gain of 233 metres per lap and a rich variety of challenges. In the men's race, defending champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) was the first to cross the line under a deep blue sky at the Rothorn Base Station. Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory) continued her successful season with the win in the women's race.

Men

There were some true rivals for defending champion Schurter, creating an exciting race. For example, BMC teammates Lukas Flückiger and Ralph Näf moved up to the lead during the race. Näf then managed to keep in third position through much of the second half of the race. But with one and a half laps to go, he had to let Fabian Giger (Giant Pro XC) pass. Giger was faster on the two tough, long climbs.

Giger finished in third. "From lap three onward, I enjoyed maintaining my own pace, and I am very happy about this medal," he said.

At the front of the race, Flückiger put in a heroic fight against Schurter. Again and again, Schurter set some clear marks, but he did not leave the impression of being overwhelmingly dominant. After his typically slower initial phase of the race, Flückiger was almost half a minute behind. He managed to close this gap at mid-race, but it took a lot of power out of him.

"Then again and again, Nino attacked so hard on the first climb that he got a gap of five or six hundred metres just within 15 seconds. To close the gap to him again repeatedly weakened my morale and sapped my energy," said Flückiger.

In the final lap, Schurter rode away again and kept a high pace that Flückiger had no means to counter any more. "But I have to be happy with that. It's not a disgrace to lose against Nino," said Flückiger.

Schurter also was very happy about the "55th victory" in his career, as proclaimed by the event speaker in front of large audience.

"It was a tough job against Flückiger, he fought very hard," said Schurter. "For me, it was, of course, very nice to be able to get such a good victory so close to my home. "

Women

Kathrin Leumann (Ghost Factory) celebrated her fourth elite Swiss national title. She won the race although she had to cope with lactic acid in her legs as well as in her arms. It wasn't easy for her to follow Esther Süss (Wheeler iXS), who struck a very fast pace off the line and took the lead.

"I knew that I could not let Esther go if I wanted to be fight for victory here. In the downhills, I'm faster than Esther - I know that. But then I noticed that today that I was also a little faster than Esther in the two long climbs," said Leumann.

In the first climb, Leumann managed to get a good gap on Süss. This gap, however, did not change much throughout the race.

Süss described the situation. "I was not able to close up to her, and she could not get away. Therefore I was "only good enough" for the silver medal."

Behind these two, Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro) settled in to defend the bronze medal. She did not have the power to follow Leuman and Süss, and there were two rivals for bronze. But when Corina Gantenbein crashed next to her, Stirnemann seized the opportunity: she pulled clear and finished third.

"It was an extremely hard race, I am totally devastated. But I am also very happy about my bronze medal," said Stirnemann.

U23 men

BMC Mountainbike Racing Team celebrated a double victory in the U23 men's race that came not quite unexpectedly. This year, however, the order was reversed as compared to 2012. Reto Indergand was quick off the line and rode a lonely race in the front position from start to finish. His team mate Matthias Stirnemann, the defending champion, was riding in second position and managed to get closer to Indergand only in the last lap. Finally the two were, only 10 seconds apart.

"It was a start-finish victory, but I never had a big lead, I always had to stay tuned. It's super cool, because this is my first Swiss title. I was second so many times ...," said Indergand.

Enea Vetsch was third.

U23 women

Linda Indergand and world champion Jolanda Neff were neck-to neck in the first lap of the U23 women's race. But then Indergand had some issues with her bike chain. Therefore Neff took the lead and powered away. She was never challenged and was very happy about another gold medal for her large collection (eight).

"Mega-cool!" she said.

The silver was awarded to Linda Indergand and bronze to Andrea Waldis.

Juniors

Andrin Beeli took an early lead in the juniors' race on Sunday morning and was never challenged. He won the race very comfortably almost two minutes ahead of Simon Vitzthum (Rheineck) and Léo L'Homme. It was Beeli's first race victory this season, and he was happy about accomplishing this in the most important Swiss competition.

Among the junior women, Alessandra Keller (Stans) also took the initiative very early. She rode away and had a gap of 18 seconds in the first lap. Finally she won the race with a clear lead ahead of Rebecca Rudolf von Rohr (Selzach). Pierina Beeli (Sagogn) earned bronze.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Nino Schurter (Swi) 1:32:48  
2 Lukas Flückiger (Swi) 0:00:09  
3 Fabian Giger (Swi) 0:01:23  
4 Ralph Naef (Swi) 0:01:52  
5 Florian Vogel (Swi) 0:02:18  
6 Thomas Litscher (Swi) 0:02:51  
7 Martin Gujan (Swi) 0:04:56  
8 Jürg Graf (Swi) 0:05:26  
9 Patrik Gallati (Swi) 0:06:12  
10 Nicola Rohrbach (Swi) 0:06:47  
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Katrin Leumann (Swi) 1:33:13  
2 Esther Süss (Swi) 0:00:48  
3 Kathrin Stirnemann (Swi) 0:04:15  
4 Corina Gantenbein (Swi) 0:06:34  
5 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) 0:07:08  
6 Cornelia Hug (Swi) 0:10:30  
7 Franziska Brun (Swi) 0:12:49  
8 Sofia Pezzatti (Swi) 0:13:42  
9 Florence Darbellay (Swi) 0:15:36  
10 Franziska Ebinger (Swi) 0:19:06  
U23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Reto Indergand (Swi) 1:22:05  
2 Matthias Stirnemann (Swi) 0:00:10  
3 Enea Vetsch (Swi) 0:01:56  
4 Andri Frischknecht (Swi) 0:04:04  
5 Emilien Barben (Swi) 0:04:23  
U23 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jolanda Neff (Swi) 1:19:14  
2 Linda Indergand (Swi) 0:01:38  
3 Andrea Waldis (Swi) 0:02:57  
4 Ramona Forchini (Swi) 0:03:02  
5 Michelle Hediger (Swi) 0:05:36  
Junior men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Andrin Beeli (Swi) 1:10:21  
2 Simon Vitzthum (Swi) 0:01:52  
3 Léo L'homme (Swi) 0:02:25  
Junior women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alessandra Keller (Swi) 1:05:45  
2 Rebecca Rudolf Von Rohr (Swi) 0:01:20  
3 Chantal Eheim (Swi) 0:04:27